Microsoft’s new products come with some seriously frustrating shortcomings, but why!?

What is going on at Microsoft these days?  Since almost a year ago I have been getting excited about all the changes coming from that organization; Skydrive, Windows 8, Surface (Windows RT), and Windows Phone 8.  And each one has let me down in one way or another, and usually in the most ridiculously stupid way.  In ways that leave me just shaking my head and wondering, what were you thinking?

I have always been invested in the Microsoft ecosystem, between work and play.  At work we deploy and operate virtually all of their server offerings, and at home Media Center, XBOX and Home Server are items the family could not live without.  Well they could, but it would not be pretty.  As much potential as all of these offerings have, they come with almost endless shortcomings.  And over the years I have always hoped that these shortcomings were something to learn from.  Instead it would appear that nothing has been learned, nothing at all.

Skydrive 

Potential

  • Integrates with virtually any device,
  • free up to 7GB
  • is amazing for sharing photos with friends.
  • Nice Windows 8/RT app.

Shortcomings

  • Try sharing a file with your friend or colleague that is larger than 30MB.  You will see they cannot get the file unless they ALSO have a Live or Skydrive account.  Even when you un-tick the box for requiring Sign-in.  Why?  I read one post that Microsoft does this to mitigate piracy.  I think the only thing they are mitigating is its general usage, by anyone!  Dumb.

Windows 8

Potential –

  • Faster and much more usable on a touch device than any previous version of Windows.

Shortcomings –

  • I have to say I really like Windows 8 and I have become very accustomed to the new gestures and locations of menu items etc.  However, I believe they need to add a little more help to their screens so that the average user knows how to, say, go back a page in the Metro version of IE.  Or pull up the options for the App they are running.  Booting to the desktop should also be a simple check box option.

Surface (Windows RT)

Potential

  • Amazingly crafted and elegant device.
  • For my needs, it really bridges the gap between PC and tablet.
  • I like the controlled environment, unfortunately it is also its undoing.

Shortcomings

  • Where to begin…No Silverlight?  Are you kidding me?
  • Hey!  I’ve spent years converting my video library to Media Center supported files and I can’t play any of them on my Surface!  Hello!?
  • No official support for USB Ethernet devices.  Related to my post in November, it was a circus getting, what was listed as compatible USB Ethernet adapters, to work on the Surface turned out to be dumb luck that we got things going.  Now they have pulled the drivers, updated the compatibility chart to “Not compatible”, even though many work just fine, and still do not offer any wired solution.  Why?  I understand the reason to control driver distribution.  But pick a vendor already and issue a device!

Windows Phone 8

Potential

  • Best Phone OS I’ve ever used.
  • Very organized.
  • Best phone email client.
  • Love the Text to Speech while I am driving.

Shortcomings

  • Does not open Microsoft XPS document files?!  This one is so dumb I actually laughed out loud when I first discovered it and then quickly became insanely frustrated.  Even my iPhone had an app for that!
  • Voice Commands for playing music?  Does not exist without installing a 3rd party app.
  • No VPN or native RDP client?

I could go on but I just wanted to get across the most obviously ridiculous issues I am having with these new products.  Issues that should simply not be there.  Are their teams so disconnected that adding XPS support on the phone could really be missed?  The cry for a wired solution for Surface is so abundant on the internet and knowing that one exists, yet Microsoft has forcefully tried to shut it down, confuses me to great lengths!

I lobby for Microsoft’s success, but it feels like they intentionally shoot themselves in the foot.  That’s why I ask, what is going on at Microsoft

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One Response to Microsoft’s new products come with some seriously frustrating shortcomings, but why!?

  1. Geoff. says:

    I create a spreadsheet (or OneNote, or Word) document on my desktop PC. I save it to SkyDrive. It’s got financial data in it (mortgage cals, shares, account numbers, etc.), so I password protect the document.

    I open the document from SkyDrive using my Surface RT. Enter the password, and I’m good to go. Updates in one place are available in the other. I do the same on the old Windows 7 laptop, and there isn’t a problem. I’m living the dream.

    Now I go to work, and need to open the document. It’s important that I do.
    I have my Lumina 920 with me, and that has Office and SkyDrive. I’ve used all of this before, I know what I’m doing, so there should be no problem. Did I mention it’s urgent?

    But no: Office on the Lumina can’t open password protected documents.

    Why, Microsoft, why?

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